Dreamworks Animation’s latest film, the poorly-reviewed Spirit Untamed, didn’t quite live up to its title, putting in the tamest performance ever for a release from the studio. The tv series adaptation opened at 3,211 theaters in fourth place with just $6.2 million (estimated) in its debut weekend, the smallest opening in Dreamworks’ 40-film catalog.
To be fair, expectations were low for Spirit Untamed. This was a feature-length adaptation of a streaming series aimed at young girls and it was never expected to perform like a typical Dreamworks feature with broad family appeal. The film’s reduced budget reflected this direction – its production wasn’t done in-house but rather farmed out to London’s Jellyfish Pictures.
And yet, even with these low expectations, a six-million-dollar opening is nearly unfathomable for the mega-L.A. studio that was once a rival to Disney and Pixar. To find the previous all-time opening low for Dreamworks, you have to go back all the way to 2003 when they released the 2d feature Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, which opened with $6.2M. Audience-wise though, the number of moviegoers who saw Sinbad on its opening weekend is roughly 70% greater than those who saw Spirit Untamed, since the average movie ticket price has greatly increased from 2003 to today ($6.03 vs. $9.16).